Breastfeeding can be a hard, isolating, and emotional journey, which is why it's so important to have support. That's why Romper launched a Facebook breastfeeding community, Breastfeeding TBH — to help make feeding another human being with your own body a little easier. Every day readers ask questions because, let's face it, breastfeeding is complicated, and each week in Rack Facts, Romper speaks with a lactation consultant to answer as many of those questions as possible. After all, everyone can use a little expert help, especially when it comes to feeding your kid.
With so many stories in the news every day of women either being harassed about breastfeeding or being treated poorly by big companies while breastfeeding, it's important to know your rights as a nursing mama.
I know — as if breastfeeding wasn't hard enough, right? Now you have to know the laws that protect you and your right to nurse because other people have no idea. As hard as advocates are trying to normalize breastfeeding, there's still a huge stigma against it in society and a whole more ignorance. Sometimes, people really just don't know the importance of breastfeeding, what it means to you and your baby, and why you deserve a break at work or a safe place to pump in a hotel.
Not to mention that breastfeeding is still hard, even when you aren't fighting for your right to do it. I spoke with International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Christie Coursey from Breastfeed Atlanta to get the answers to your questions about painful latches, pumping breaks at work, and preparing to head back to the office. If you're in the Atlanta area, you can contact Coursey for in-home and in-office consultations to take care of all your breastfeeding needs. You can also follow Breastfeed Atlanta on Facebook for an additional resource to share with family, employers, and yourself.
1. Baby Prefers Bottle Over Breast
I have a 4-month-old and I haven't been able to nurse him for ten day. He will not take my breast any longer, he will only take a bottle now. He gets frustrated after a few sucks at my breast and pushes away. How can I get him to nurse again?
"The best way to go about solving the problem is to figure out how it started in the first place," Coursey says. "Was there an underlying latch problem or milk supply problem?" She recommends reaching out to a local IBCLC to see what the problem was so they can offer you solutions to get baby back to the breast.
2. Green Stool
I have an 8-week-old who is exclusively breastfed. Roughly two weeks ago, her stool went from mustard colored to green, and has stayed that way since. I called a lactation consultant and they said she may be getting too much foremilk and not enough hindmilk. I followed their suggestion of feeding on the same breast twice in a row but nothing changed.
Don't fret too much. "Green stool isn't necessarily a problem," Coursey says. "As long as your baby is gaining weight well and happy, everything is fine."
3. Preparing To Go Back To Work
I return back to work next week and I have some milk frozen. I was wondering how much milk should I be sending with her to her sitter's? How much milk should I be storing? Is it necessary to have a whole freezer full?
"While having a freezer full of milk is nice, it is not a necessity," Coursey says. "Most babies will need 1 to 1.5 ounces of milk per hour that they are away from mom." To prepare, Coursey recommends a few "dress rehearsals" a week or so before you go back to work. "You only pump and baby only gets bottles during the time you would be working. Then you can figure out how much milk baby will need and how much you need to pump."
4. What To Do With Extra Pumped Milk
I mainly pump because of my crazy work schedule, and I want my child on my milk for his first year. It's gotten to the point that I have nowhere to go with my milk. My deep freezer is full and I have been freezing my fresh milk and using the frozen milk. Any suggestions on what to do?
First thing to do is give yourself a huge fist pump for developing a great milk supply. Coursey suggests investing in a deep freezer to store your milk, but you can also help other mamas. "You can look into donating milk through the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, too," she says. The continued pumping will keep your supply up, but you won't have to worry about milk going bad or having more than you can use if you donate. Best of both worlds.
5. Painful Latch
I'm breastfeeding my 4-month-old and when she latches sometimes it really hurts. I try to get her relatch, but then she gets mad.
Painful nipples are never fun. "Do you think she may be teething? If so, offer her a soft teether when she does this," Coursey says. "If that doesn't solve the problem then you may need to see a local IBCLC to get to the bottom of it."
6. Sippy Cups Over Bottles
My baby will be 4 months old soon and has been exclusively breastfed. We started introducing a bottle a few weeks ago and have even let her go up to seven to eight hours without feeding a few times, but she absolutely will not take a bottle. We are wondering if we should just skip to sippy cups. I have to go back to work in one week and I feel like we are running out of options.
"Yes to the sippy cup idea, and make sure to tell the baby's care provider to offer it to her frequently so she doesn't get too hungry," Coursey says. She also suggests that your baby may go through "reverse cycle nursing." "That's where they go long periods without nursing when separated from mom and then nurse more frequently when they're with mom," she says.
7. Pumping At Work
My daughter is 4 months old and I am going back to work in three weeks. Does my job have to give me breaks to pump? How often should I pump so I don't dry up?
"Your job more than likely does have to give you breaks to pump," Coursey says. "They also have to provide a private space that is not a bathroom, but they do not have to pay you for these breaks. With rare exceptions, employers are required to do this by federal law. Most women need to pump every two to three hours with a high quality double electric breast pump to maintain a full milk supply." The United States Department of Labor has a great resource on your rights as a breastfeeding mother in the workplace, too.
8. Giving Attention To An Older Sibling When The Youngest Breastfeeds Often
I have two girls and they are 18 months and a week apart. Sometimes I feel like I can't give my oldest enough attention as my youngest is a comfort nurser. She nurses for five to 15 minutes at a time and nurses every 30 to 45 minutes it feels like. I try and play with her as much as possible around my youngest daughter's feedings but it's like I can't fit enough time in there for her to be happy.
This can be a tough situation. "Adjusting to being a mom of two is never easy," Coursey says, but she suggests that family support may be what you need here. "Perhaps you could have a family member spend some time doing one on one play at least once per day? Alternatively, could a family member feed your baby a pumped bottle every now and then so you could play with your toddler?" That balance will always be tough, but with the right support system, you can keep both of your babies happy. (And have your sanity, too.)